Do you wish to create a website to make money online? Maybe the doors are open – but the traffic is headed elsewhere – what gives?
I had a local website full of products that I sold within my retail business, but the only traffic that it attracted was from people I had spoken to personally and handed a business card.
I set up this website and the only traffic I have received is traffic that I have sent from spamming social media. Oops yes, I was spamming in the past. I did manage some affiliate commissions last year but not enough to live on.
Why am I still trying to make money online through my website?
I am still trying because I refuse to give up. There are many ways to make money and I believe that in the long haul a website and promoting it are the secret to an ongoing location independent lifestyle which will allow me to travel all year round.
I see many sites as I comb the web looking for information for both my website and to answer my own personal questions. When I sit back and look at websites on very specific search terms I see that those targeting ordinary working people, rather than budding entrepreneurs are often a very different ‘shopfront’.
Who is sitting at the top of Google search?
For many popular searches there are 2 or 3 adverts at the top, and if a question a snippet, (sometimes giving a quick answer and sometimes a list in reply), people also ask, images, videos, then organic websites, followed by adverts on the bottom.
Depending upon the search keyword there could be between 3 and 10 organic results. However, for those that have a lot of organic results, there is often little or no advertising.
Could this be an indication that this term is not profitable? Most likely, therefore expect it to attract people not interested in buying from this search term. Not always, it could also be that there are limited options to provide products to help someone searching that keyword.
In more popular searches, most sites that appear at the top of the SERP today are huge with hundreds of posts on different topics. We are generally advised to pick a small niche and write content specific to that niche. Then market to that audience.
I feel we do need to do this, yet make it the first step in our overall website goal. Our long term goal should be to have the website cover multiple closely related micro niches.
If we want to be successful in 2020 and beyond, we need to become the leaders of tomorrow – not the followers of the last decade.
Today Google recognizes brands – I believe we need to niche down, start our brand then niche up as part of our business strategy.
Today we need to be a brand.
There is a lot of competition today and as the search engines become more intelligent and recognize synonyms and understand intent more, many keyword terms have combined providing fewer opportunities for smaller new websites to gain good SERP positions. Old established websites with lots of content seem to rank more easily. So to compete, we need to be professional and become a Business as we move into a new era.
Can you still make it to number one on Google?
I believe, to do this today you need a lot of writing, marketing, advertising and generally, you need to do the legwork yourself. The other option would be to have a gigantic website with lots of well-written content, photos and videos on a broader niche.
When analyzing sites coming up within specific, more popular, niches I found that they covered lots of small niches.
The search ‘how to find a good hairdresser’ seems to be a simple question. The results on page one were 4 branded websites that included a range of beauty, fashion, and makeup topics. The fifth was a blogger with a niche directly related to hair.
On page two were local salons, magazines, and other branded websites.
How did this one blogger hit the top of Search among such huge websites and brands?
I studied her site, hairromance, a little more carefully. Firstly the site is 10 years old, so not a newbie. Secondly, over this time the creator, Christina, has produced around 500 video tutorials together with e-books and guides to purchase. Christina has obviously put a lot of time and effort into her website. She also has a second travel and lifestyle blog with her husband.
Christina has branded herself, created lots of content and promoted herself through social media. She has an Instagram following of 65K and a Pinterest following of 372K (with around 6,000 pins).
Christina is proof that we can compete with the big guys but we need to be prepared to do a lot of work and marketing to make it happen. It takes time and effort. Creating a website that makes money is not something you can throw together in your spare time.
You need to produce lots of content.
What does ‘lots of content’ mean?
I recently read a post in which the author recommended approx 400 product review posts sending people to one website before you are likely to make 300 conversions within 12 months (approx 6 a week with a day to spare). That is a lot of reviews.
Some people say a lot of content is 100 posts, others recommend more than that. The important thing, I believe, is to have a lot of long informative content. This does not mean writing 10 posts saying the same thing with slightly different wording, different titles, headings, and images.
How to brush your hair, ways to brush your hair, brushing your hair in different ways, are accepted as different keywords within a post but not as three different posts.
Should you brush your hair when it is wet?, brushing your hair to help it shine, and brushing your hair to make it grow, are three related topics and do qualify.
With the haircare keyword example, the bigger sites have spread their topics to include skincare, beauty, wellness, healthcare and more. Whilst I believe we need to find a smaller niche to start, I believe our long term goal should be a broader niche website. Moving forward, the competition will continue to grow.
As we promote through social media, our profiles will need to reflect our brand within both the original small niche and the broader niche so we attract an audience that will grow as we do.
How do we create lots of good content?
Creating content starts with putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard putting together ideas.
If you have the funds you could hire writers from sites such as Upwork or Fiverr to help with research and content creation. I recommend that you carefully outline your brief and check all articles and their reference before editing and posting to your website.
If, like me, your budget is very limited, then you need to start your website, learn all you can and begin writing.
As you continue to learn and become more skilled, you can update old posts and this will help your website’s overall SEO ranking. For this reason, whilst taking care not to post rubbish, it is important that you write some reasonable length, informative posts even if they are not perfect.
As your knowledge and website grow, you will have more related content to interlink, become a better writer and be able to research to discover additional information to add and create more SEO elements such as improved images and video. Your website should continue to be a work in progress and continually improving older posts is a benefit to the growth of your website.
A tip to make revision easier in the future.
I have a written list of every post that I have written to date. This list contains simple information including Title, URL, topics covered or mentioned, headings, quotes, links (internal and external), affiliate websites mentioned or related to topics.
This list is always a work in progress and every time I create a new post or update an old one I have a list of broad topics that may be related that I can create internal links to in the future.
As the website grows and I add affiliate reviews or my own products I will have details at hand to make it easy to link to these pages as I am editing older posts. Remember, continually editing and improving older posts is a benefit.
This list also gives me ideas so I can continue to quickly create pins and social media posts in the future from the headings and quotes without searching physically through my posts lists in the back office of the website to come up with ideas.
Are you wanting to create a website and make money online?
You can do so if you are prepared to learn and take action at the same time.
There are many ways to learn. You can download every free tip sheet, e-book and course you find (and join a multitude of email lists which usually means joining people’s monetization funnel).
There are many blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels dedicated to helping you learn (with their own monetization funnels).
There are also paid courses, membership sites and coaching available on many different niches and it becomes so confusing.
What information am I missing using the free stuff?
Not a great deal, but there are some things where the free or very cheap version is not recommended.
I would include here domain name and hosting. Some things are better off long-term if planned correctly from the start. If you opened a bricks and mortar retail shop, you would start from leased premises, even if not in your preferred location, not a rent-free tent pitched in a park – no matter how lovely the parkland.
Learning to create a website and make money from it is a full-time passion. Some people may have struck it lucky in the past but as the web has become more intelligent we need to provide better content and better user experience.
As the world, and the web, is more informed and sophisticated we need to remember our website needs to relect the modern user’s needs and expectations.
The search engines are taking this approach and they continually change their algorithms to reflect this viewpoint, and so must we as website creators in the 20’s and beyond.
Are you looking for an education on how to grow your website in the 20’s?
You can see my review of the site I use, Wealthy Affiliate. You can learn and have your website hosted at the same time. I do.